Improving Accessibility - Welcome to the Vernon Barker Memorial Garden!

Three new raised beds 
					with wicking technology allow easy access to gardeners with disabilities.

Sunshine Community Gardens is committed to improving access for people with disabilities. Sunshine gardeners came together this year to build some great raised beds to improve access and broaden accessibility to the garden, and expand our membership. The Vernon Barker Memorial Garden is a new way for people to enjoy gardening. The project is named in honor of longtime beloved gardener Vernon Barker. Vernon was an excellent gardener and Austin original. A WWII veteran attached to the Texas 36th Infantry Division, Vernon saw action in North Africa and Italy. His great personality and storytelling brought a smile to everyone.

Three raised beds were recently constructed that allow access for people in wheelchairs. These plots are 10 by 3 feet and 24 inches high. They also have a water spigot within a few feet of the beds. There is room to maneuver a wheelchair around them and the plots are adjacent to our parking area for easy access.

The beds use wicking technology. In these beds, a gravel base is laid in an impermeable membrane which acts as a reservoir. A perforated pipe allows recharging of this mini aquifer from the surface. Topsoil layered above the gravel wicks water to the plant roots from below. This saves water, keeps the soil cool and moist, and helps plants survive our brutal summers by directing their roots deep instead of staying shallow.

For more information about renting one of these plots please contact Steven Uecker at or Kay McMurray at